Blastomycosis in Dogs: Kane’s Lost Battle with Systemic Fungal Infection

Fungal infections usually don’t get much attention. Yet, they can be just as bad as cancer.

You’d expect a fungal infection being a skin problem, such as yeast infection or ringworm. Things get really serious when a fungal infection attacks the inside of the body, such as sinuses or even lungs and elsewhere.

Blastomycosis in Dogs: Kane's Lost Battle with Systemic Fungal Infection

The top 5 common fungal diseases in dogs are Aspergillosis, Histoplasmosis (Ohio River Valley Fever), Coccidiomycosis (Valley Fever), Cryptococcus, and Blastomycosis.

Systemic infection requires aggressive treatment, and the outcome isn’t always favorable.

Fungi love it wet and with the amount of rain we had in our area, there has been a spike in Blastomycosis infections.

“Blastomycosis is a fungal organism that lives in the soil. During dry seasons it rests mostly inactive, but when the soil becomes wet or flooded it begins to sporulate. It is most often inhaled by dogs who have their noses ‘in the dirt’ – chasing frogs and other swamp creatures. It is not a coincidence that the majority of our cases are Labradors.” ~Walden Animal Hospital

The embedded article is a sad story of Kane, who has lost his battle with this infection. My heart breaks for Kane.

Above you can see Kane’s x-rays. Kane was a very healthy two-year-old Labrador, full of life. The infection struck him hard and quickly out of the blue.

“In the images, his lungs are full of patchy white blotches – all areas where the fungal organism is attacking. This is no bacterial infection that will go away with antibiotics. It is as bad as having an agressive cancer, requiring very strong anti fungal medications and sadly, we don’t always win.” ~Walden Animal Hospital

Cookie loves to hunt mice, dig in the dirt and chase frogs. I don’t think I can stop her from doing that, nor we have any areas around here with zero risk. This gives me one more thing to worry about.

One somewhat comforting thing is that, according to petMD, the disease occurs most frequently in male dogs. Which seems strange, because dogs get infected by inhaling the spores, though it can enter through the skin also. What gives?

Female dogs can get also infected but apparently not as easily.

I cannot stop Cookie from living her life, nor she would want me to. To some degree, I can be more selective about where I let her play and hunt. The fungus can be found in environments such as farms, forests, wooded areas, camps, and hunting areas. Which around here means anywhere.

Depending on where the infection takes hold, symptoms can include the following:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • eye discharge or inflammation
  • coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing
  • skin lesions and wounds that don’t want to heal

Knowing about the increased risk, I will rush to a vet with the slightest suspicion, even faster than usual. That’s about all I can practically do. And pray, of course.

Related articles:
Alien Invasion: Your Dog And Infections

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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